Alex Rivera blew our minds with his movie Sleep Dealer, and now he's organizing a film festival for environmental films, the Tales From Planet Earth festival in Madison, WI. Talking to the Cap Times, he explains how great art can challenge our ideas about what "the environment" is, and how to save it.
The environment is, for a lot of people, synonymous with preservation, parks. Tales, from its conception, has challenged that and said, “Find me a place that’s not in the environment.” Once you understand that an office space on the outskirts of Madison is an environment, then (you can tell) the story of planning that office park, or the story of somebody working in that office park and finding their life force draining away. ... If you start thinking about environmental film with an expansive and social definition, then we can find all kinds of films, and all kinds of genres and all kinds of ways of talking about the genre. These are just great films that stretch the limits of what a film can be and also stretch the limits of what we think about the environment.